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National Defence mum on Russian threat to shoot down planes in Syria

National Defence mum on Russian threat to shoot down planes in Syria

Warplanes from the US -led coalition operating over Syrian government-controlled areas west of the Euphrates River will be tracked as potential targets, Russia's Defense Ministry said Monday, a day after the USA military shot down a Syrian air force jet.

The situation in Syria escalated Sunday when a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian regime Su-22 fighter - the first time a U.S. plane shot down a manned aircraft since 1999.

The announcement came after the US shot down a Syrian regime fighter jet on Sunday, which the ministry called a "massive violation of worldwide law", according to ABC News.

Moscow is terminating its communication channel with the United States under a memorandum for preventing incidents in Syria's skies, as a effect for the U.S. downing a Syrian Su-22 plane, Russia's Defense Ministry reported on Monday.

Russian Federation has been providing air cover for Syrian president Bashar Assad since 2015 while the coalition has been bombing Islamic State (IS) targets since 2014, sometimes alongside regime forces.

The shoot-down comes during a period of heightened tensions between the U.S., Iran, Russia and the Syrian regime.

"The Russian federation has indicated that they're objective in Syria, like ours, is to defeat ISIS and we'll see if that's true here in the coming hours", he added.

USA forces tangled earlier this month with Syria-allied aircraft in the region. The flights support Syrian Arab and Kurdish fighters aligned against Islamic State militants.

"However, the command of the coalition forces didn't use the existing channel between the air command of the Qatari airbase al Udeid and the [Russian] Hmeymim airbase to avoid incidents over Syria". The Syrian pilot catapulted into an area controlled by ISIS.




"The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian, or pro-regime forces partnered with them, but will not hesitate to defend Coalition or partner forces from any threat", it said.

The memorandum had been in place to avoid incidents occurring between the United States and Russian air forces, both of which conduct parallel aerial operations over Syria as they offer support to distinct native forces on the ground.

Moscow accused Washington of failing to honour the pact by not informing it of the decision to shoot down the Syrian plane despite Russian aircraft being airborne at the same time.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks Syria's war, said government forces expanded their presence in Raqqa province by capturing from IS the town of Rasafa.

A top Russian diplomat has condemned the United States for shooting down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet the previous day as an act of "aggression".

Outside observers said that Sunday's strike underscored a growing willingness on the part of Assad's forces to confront the US -led coalition as they jostle to roll back Islamic State militants from eastern Syria.

The general added that he would welcome a new AUMF from Congress, which he said would be "very positive" for American troops.

"We call on the United States and all the others who have forces or advisers on the ground to ensure our work is coordinated".

The Russian announcements came in response to the downing of the Syrian Air Force plane, which was the first time for the USA after it began fighting the IS in Syria, leading a coalition of worldwide forces, in 2014.